How to Fight Loneliness? Tech Helpful Trends 2021

Experts claim the technology to fight loneliness to be the trend of 2021.

Chatbots for singles, robots instead of agricultural workers and a responsible attitude to passwords - Telenor names the main technology trends of 2021.


The Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor (provides services in Northern Europe and Asia, and also previously owned a large stake in VimpelCom) has identified five major technology trends for 2021.


As Telenor notes, the past year has forced people around the world to adapt very quickly to new conditions of life, which has become more digital.


Technologies to combat loneliness


The pandemic has led to an increase in the number of people who feel lonely. This causes a host of health problems such as anxiety and depression.


“2020 has shown us that loneliness is a fundamental public health problem that we believe will have an unprecedented technological response in 2021. We predict that eHealth market participants will develop and implement new sets of mental health-related tools and services. In the countries where the fifth generation (5G) mobile networks have been introduced, we are likely to see the first examples of the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies in holographic communications, this will happen next year, "Bjorn Taale Sandberg, head of the Telenor research department, said.


According to the forecast, a new generation of chatbots will emerge, designed to help people suffering from loneliness. These will be personalized assistants using artificial intelligence technology - they will be able to answer questions, make calls, offer entertainment.


Further diffusion of ‘green’ technologies


The pandemic has sparked a return to the fight against global warming, Sandberg said. He expects governments around the world to begin enacting climate protection legislation in 2021. Cities around the world will deploy AI systems to optimize energy use, which will help make renewable energies more predictable, and cities smarter by optimizing transport and predicting air quality.


Outside the cities, robots will work to compensate for the shortage of agricultural workers. Mechanical weeding with machine vision streamlines the use of pesticides, which will reduce the negative impact of agriculture on the environment. Small artificial intelligence devices, called Tiny Machine Learning (TinyML), will be used to deploy drones to monitor agricultural areas.


Last year, Telenor also named the rise in green innovation as one of its top technology trends. Experts assumed that companies, especially in Europe, would strive to obtain 100% renewable electricity, which would become the basis for doing business that does not affect the climate.


Responsible attitude to passwords


This year, there should be more user-friendly cybersecurity solutions, in particular for storing usernames and passwords. Sandberg predicts that password managers or solutions that scan the iris and fingerprints will become more common. This should improve efficiency and safety, as well as make life easier for those employees who forget to start their work computer. As the survey notes, the number of password-protected accounts is constantly growing. However, security rules advise changing passwords every three months and not reusing the old password, which exacerbates the problem.


Switching to flexible working mode


Many companies will provide employees with more opportunities to work outside the office. In 2020, many were forced to start working from home and this sudden transition happened quite easily, confirming once and for all that the Internet and the right digital tools allow you to get work done anywhere, anytime. People will look for a more comfortable regime for themselves, as well as a comfortable workplace. Telenor suggests that, for example, cafes could later be turned into meeting rooms. To provide the necessary competencies to work remotely, managers will develop skills in cybersecurity and digital hygiene, Telenor predicts.


The danger of a gap in education


Telenor expects an increase in new distance digital learning methods in 2021. The issue of equipping with the means for access to digital education should be raised both at the international and national levels, Telenor experts believe. Otherwise, the gap in the level of education will widen in the coming years. Isolation due to the pandemic has sparked a wave of innovation in digital learning, but at the same time, millions of children and young people with no internet connection at home lost the opportunity to study in 2020.